I stood this week reading of two old soldiers, who having been separated by conflict, reconciled their friendship. The Colonel and Big Chief, as they we’re each nicknamed, had both once occupied the White House. It was the office that caused a rift in their friendship.
Taft reached out when his friend had surgery, and Theodore Roosevelt reached back. Like Adam’s and Jefferson they corresponded again, and shared moments together. The two came to realize, as my Pastor has always said, the relationship is more important than the argument.
If you study the Presidency, you will find more than one story of reunited friends for example Truman and Eisenhower. There were also found friendships, Hoover and Truman, Bush Sr and Clinton. None of these men agreed completely, but they agreed to be friends.
Friendship in Hebrew means an associate or brother, but it’s root word means to tend a flock. Friendship must be tended, never taken forgranted, no matter how seasoned or secure. True friends should be valued, cherished, and maintained.
The repairing of the above men’s friendship is a reminder that no matter how successful, we all need friends. Solomon said a man that has friends must show himself friendly. The Hebrew word for that means to spoil. Spoil your friends with love, support, and kindness.
Let them know you are for them. In good times and bad times, remind them they have you. Doing this will give them strength strength and joy. Be active in your their lives, be loyal, encourage, care about their interests, and above all listen.
Hear when they speak, not just the words, but their hearts. Are they tired, are they in a battle, do they need encouraging laughter, or empathy? You don’t have to know the right thing to say, hearing always outweighs speaking.
The historian Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote Taft viewed the strain of their friendship a greater loss than losing the presidency. It wasn’t only that time dulled their anger, it highlighted the loss of something even more important, friendship. The two men completed their last chapters as former presidents but current friends, I believe a far greater office to each.